Monday, September 30, 2013

SC quashes Bhavani Singh's removal in Jaya assets case...

Jayalalithaa assets case: SC quashes Bhavani Singh's removal

IANS

NEW DELHI, September 30, 2013

A file photo of Bhavani Singh

In a relief to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court on Monday set aside the Karnataka Government's decision to remove Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) G Bhawani Singh from the disproportionate assets case her.

Terming the decision as "malafide", a bench of justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde also asked the Karnataka High Court and the state government to consider extending tenure of the special trial judge as per the law.

"The extension can be given as per the law and in consultation with the high court," the bench said, adding the trial court's record runs into nearly 33,000 pages and the recording of statements of witnesses has also completed.

The apex court, on September 25, had reserved its verdict on the issue of appointment and sacking of SPP Singh in the case and also on the AIADMK Chief's plea for extension of the tenure of the trial judge who is scheduled to retire on Monday.

Earlier during the proceedings, DMK general secretary K Anbalagan had opposed Ms. Jayalalithaa's plea, saying that she and other accused were allegedly responsible for the protracted trial in the 17-year-old case.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati, appearing for Karnataka Government, had also opposed the plea of Ms. Jayalalithaa on the SPP and for extension of the tenure of the special judge till the completion of the trial.

The bench had deliberated on the political overtones on the issue of the appointment and sacking Mr. Singh as the SPP.

"Was there (in Karnataka) the same government? When did the government change,?" the bench had asked.

The Attorney General had said the new government came on May 8 this year but the appointment of Singh was done without any consultation between the state government and the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court.

The bench, which had perused the records, had noted Mr. Singh, who has been sacked as SPP in the case, was appointed without any objection by Karnataka government to conduct the trial in the 17-year-old case.

Courtesy_

Also read FULL Judgment at: http://judis.nic.in

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 154 OF 2013

Selvi J. Jayalalithaa & Ors. …Petitioners

Versus

State of Karnataka & Ors. …Respondents

WITH

WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 166 OF 2013

JUDGMENT

Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

1. The petitioners have challenged the order dated 10.9.2013 passed by the Government of Karnataka asking Shri G. Bhavani Singh – respondent no.4, Special Public Prosecutor (hereinafter referred to as 'SPP') in a pending prosecution against the petitioners not to appear in the said matter; the communication dated 14.9.2013 passed by the Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore by which the Chief Justice has approved the removal of Shri G. Bhavani Singh as SPP, as well as the consequential order dated 16.9.2013 issued by the State Government removing the respondent no.4 from the post of SPP. 

2. A prosecution was launched against the petitioners for having assets disproportionate to their known income in the year 1996-1997 in the State of Tamil Nadu. Thiru. K. Anbazhagan (respondent no. 5) is a political rival of the petitioner no.1, who is and has been the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on a number of occasions. The petitioners approached this Court on 18.11.2003 for transferring the petitioners' trial to the neighbouring State of Karnataka in the interest of justice, on the ground that a fair trial was not possible in the State of Tamil Nadu. 

While transferring the matters to the State of Karnataka, this Court for appointment of SPP issued the following directions: 

"The State of Karnataka in consultation with the Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka shall appoint a senior lawyer having experience in criminal trials as public prosecutor to conduct these cases. The public prosecutor so appointed shall be entitled to assistance of another lawyer of his choice. The fees and all other expenses of the Public Prosecutor and the Assistant shall be paid by the State of Karnataka who will thereafter be entitled to get the same reimbursed from the State of Tamil Nadu." (Emphasis added)

3. On 19.2.2005, the Government of Karnataka, after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, appointed Shri B.V. Acharya, a former Advocate General, as SPP to conduct the prosecution. On 12.8.2012, Shri Acharya expressed his inability to continue as SPP. The Government of Karnataka accepted his resignation in January, 2013 and discharged him from the case. 

4. The Government of Karnataka then initiated the process for appointment of a new SPP and in accordance with the directions of this Court, submitted names of four Advocates to the High Court for consideration by the Chief Justice. 

5. The Acting Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court on 29.1.2013 recommended the name of Shri G. Bhavani Singh, respondent No.4 for appointment though his name was not submitted by the Government of Karnataka. The Government of Karnataka accepted the same and issued a Notification appointing Shri G. Bhavani Singh as SPP. After issuance of the notification dated 2.2.2013, Shri G. Bhavani Singh started working and 99 defence witnesses were examined and 384 defence exhibits were marked between 28.2.2013 and 29.7.2013. The defence commenced arguments on 2.8.2013 and concluded the same. However, it was on 13.8.2013 that respondent no.5 filed an application under Section 301(2) Cr.P.C. The learned Special Judge permitted respondent no.5 vide order dated 21.8.2013 to file Memo of Arguments and to render such assistance to the SPP as he may require. The respondent no.5 filed two applications on 23.8.2013 before the trial court, one under Section 309 Cr.P.C. seeking adjournment by 4 weeks and another under Section 311 Cr.P.C. to recall PW.259, the Investigating Officer (whose examination was over on 24.2.2003) and to examine him as a court witness. 

6. On 26.8.2013, the Government of Karnataka issued a Notification withdrawing the appointment of respondent no.4 as SPP without assigning any reason and without consulting the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.

7. The petitioners, apprehending delay in the trial approached this Court challenging the removal of respondent no.4 as SPP by filing a Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 145 of 2013 under Article 32 of the Constitution of India (hereinafter referred to as the 'Constitution'). This Court issued notice to the respondents on 30.8.2013. On 6.9.2013, Mr. G.E. Vahanvati, learned Attorney General appeared for the State of Karnataka and informed the court that the Notification dated 26.8.2013 would be withdrawn with a view to consult the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court. In view thereof, the afore-stated writ petition was dismissed as having become infructuous.

8. The State Government withdrew the Notification dated 26.8.2013 vide Notification dated 10.9.2013 and simultaneously, vide letter of the same date, asked Shri G. Bhavani Singh, respondent no.4 not to appear in the matter before the Special Judge. The petitioners then filed the present Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 154 of 2013 challenging the said letter written to the respondent no.4 and to direct the learned Special Judge to conclude the trial. On 13.9.2013, this Court issued notice returnable in ten days and stayed the operation of the letter being No. LAW 149 LCE 2012 dated 10.9.2013 passed by respondent Nos.1-2. 

9. While the afore-stated writ petition was pending in this Court, the Government of Karnataka consulted the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court for withdrawing the appointment of respondent no.4 as SPP. The Chief Justice concurred with the view of the State Government, vide communication dated 14.9.2013 and thus, the appointment of Shri G. Bhavani Singh stood withdrawn by the Government of Karnataka vide Notification No.LAW 149 LCE 2012 dated 16.9.2013. 

10. Aggrieved, the petitioners have filed Writ Petition (Criminal) No.166 of 2013, challenging the said orders dated 14.9.2013 and 16.9.2013.

11. Both petitions have been heard together. Shri Shekhar Naphade and Shri U.U. Lalit, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that it is settled law that an accused has a right to a speedy trial, as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution; the order withdrawing the appointment of respondent no.4 as SPP is a calculated step to protract the trial in view of impending retirement of the learned Special Judge on 30th September, 2013; and any Judge who takes over the matter would require considerable time to get familiar with the lengthy record as the recorded evidence oral and documentary run into 34000 pages; the trial has almost been completed since the entire evidence of the prosecution and the defence has been recorded and statements of the accused persons (petitioners) under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as 'Cr.P.C.') have also been recorded; the withdrawal of appointment of SPP after six months of his functioning is motivated by malafides with a view to protract the trial as there has been a change of government in the State of Karnataka; the present case being a warrant case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act 1988'), final submissions of the defence already stood concluded. Eventually, according to the learned counsel, the scheduled conclusion of the trial has become impossible and the petitioners face the prospect of remaining under trial for a long time, which would be to the political advantage of their rivals in the ensuing elections. In view thereof, this court must quash the order of withdrawal/revocation of the appointment of respondent no.4 as SPP and to also further extend the duration of tenure of the learned Special Judge till the conclusion of this trial. 

12. Shri G.E. Vahanvati, the learned Attorney General submitted that the act of revoking the appointment is substantially under Section 21 of the General Clauses Act and has been made in the like manner to the appointment i.e. after consultation with the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court as, contemplated by this Court. The main reason for revocation of the appointment, according to the learned Attorney General, was that the appointment itself was not made after due consultation since the name of Shri G. Bhavani Singh did not find place in any of the four names submitted by the Government of Karnataka to the then learned Acting Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court for appointment as SPP. In an action contrary to the true purpose of consultation, the Acting Chief Justice recommended the name of Shri G. Bhavani Singh on his own, thus preventing any consultation on the name. Further, in exercise of its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution, this court cannot force the Government of Karnataka to allow the Special Judge to continue in service after reaching the age of superannuation on 30.9.2013. Therefore, the petitions lack merit and are liable to be dismissed. 

13. Shri Vikas Singh, learned senior counsel appearing for the respondent no.5 has submitted that the petitioners themselves have been adopting dilatory tactics in the trial and it is only in the recent past that they have become very punctual and had been forcing the learned Special Judge to proceed with the matter in haste. The trial has been conducted in an unwarranted manner and an example of the same is that the arguments of the defence had been entertained by the learned Special Judge before the arguments of the prosecution. Mr.G.Bhavani Singh had been appointed on the suggestion of learned Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, though his name had not been there in the panel sent by the State Government. Thus, in the facts and circumstances of the case, no interference is warranted and petitions are liable to be dismissed.  

14. We have heard learned counsel for all the parties and perused the record produced before us by the Karnataka High Court.

15. The reason put forth by the Government of Karnataka for removing Shri G. Bhavani Singh as SPP appears to be rather unusual. It may be true that the name of Shri G. Bhavani Singh was not in the list of four names submitted by the Government of Karnataka to the then Acting Chief Justice of the High Court and the name originated from the Acting Chief Justice, prior to making of appointment of SPP by the Government of Karnataka; but it is equally true that the appointment was made by the Government without questioning the ability or suitability of the incumbent nor the government raised any issue in respect of the manner/issue of consultation. On the contrary, upon receiving the recommendation, the Government proceeded to appoint Shri G. Bhavani Singh by issuing a Notification without any demur. Apart from this the appointment continued un-objected for almost seven months. 

16. Even before us, no issue has been raised by the respondents in respect of the eligibility, suitability or credibility of the respondent no.4 as a SPP. In the letter dated 29.1.2013 communicated by the learned Registrar General of the High Court of Karnataka to the State Government, the experience of Shri Bhavani Singh has been recited as under: 

"Sri G. Bhavani Singh, who is presently working as State Public Prosecutor-II has standing experience of 38 years at the Bar exclusively on criminal side, he has conducted the cases before the Trial Court as a defence counsel and he has served as a Government Pleader from 1977 for a period of three years in the High Court of Karnataka and as Additional Public Prosecutor for a period of 3 years and currently for the past 8 years working as State Public Prosecutor-II in the High Court of Karnataka."

17. Whenever consultation is mandated by law, it necessarily involves two authorities; one, on whom a duty is cast to consult and the other who has the corresponding right(s) to be consulted. The grievance that there has been no consultation or insufficient consultation is normally raised by the authority who has a right to be consulted, in this case the Chief Justice. It is not legitimate for the party who has a duty to consult and who has failed in that duty, to make a grievance that there has been no consultation. This is exactly what has happened in the present case. If the Government found the name of Shri G. Bhavani Singh, which was sent by the Acting Chief Justice, not acceptable on any ground, it was duty bound to refer the name back to the Acting Chief Justice along with their views and suggestions, which was not done by them. On the contrary, they proceeded to appoint Shri G. Bhavani Singh as SPP without demur, who had already been a Public Prosecutor for several years. There is nothing on record to indicate that the Government of Karnataka had been forced by anyone to make the said appointment. The Government thus voluntarily acquiesced in the process and is now not entitled to raise this grievance. The grievance is thus baseless and does not carry any conviction. 

In the facts and circumstances of the case, the judgments relied upon by the Hon'ble Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court in his communication, concurring with the suggestion made by the Government of Karnataka to withdraw the appointment of respondent no.4 as SPP, particularly in Chandramouleshwar Prasad v. The Patna High Court & Ors., AIR 1970 SC 370; Union of India v. Sankalchand Himatlal Sheth & Anr., AIR 1977 SC 2328; State of Gujarat v. Gujarat Revenue Tribunal Bar Association, AIR 2013 SC 107; and State of Gujarat & Anr. v. Justice R.A. Mehta (Retired) & Ors., (2013) 3 SCC 1, have no application. 

18. We may record that though some criticism was made of the letter dated 14.9.2013 of the Chief Justice of Karnataka approving the revocation of the appointment of Shri G. Bhavani Singh and certain observations therein, we are not inclined to go into the merits, demerits or validity of the letter. In the first place, the said letter is not an order that may affect any of the rights of the petitioners. It is merely an approval given in the course of consultation for the removal of Shri G. Bhavani Singh who has not questioned his removal. The petitioners have challenged the validity of the action of the State Government removing Shri G. Bhavani Singh on the ground that fundamental rights under Article 21 for speedy trial have been breached thereby. In the circumstances, it is not necessary to pronounce on the correctness or otherwise of the contents of the letter written by Hon'ble the Chief Justice.

19. Mr. Vikas Singh, learned senior counsel appearing for respondent No. 5, referred to the entire proceedings after the case was transferred to the State of Karnataka and submitted that the prosecution has been proceeding in a most undesirable manner, particularly, after the appointment of Shri G. Bhavani Singh as SPP. According to the learned counsel, the Investigating Officer has been permitted to be examined as a defence witness and the Special Judge has proceeded to pass certain orders even in the absence of SPP. These allegations have been denied as factually incorrect by Mr. Naphade, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioners. We are, however, not inclined to go into all these submissions since they would form a subject of entirely different enquiry and the allegedly illegal proceedings and orders if any, can be challenged separately. It was also argued by Mr. Vikas Singh that the Special Judge has wrongly permitted the defence to commence their arguments before the arguments of the prosecution. On the other hand, according to the petitioners, this is entirely permissible in view of the fact that this is a prosecution under Section 13 of the Act 1988 and being so, any party including the defence is entitled to begin its submissions on the close of its evidence by virtue of Section 314 Cr.P.C., which applies to warrant cases. Further, by virtue of Section 5 of the Act 1988, cases under this Act are liable to be tried as warrant cases and there is therefore, no illegality in this regard. The respondents' contention that the prosecution alone must begin their arguments is based on Section 234 Cr.P.C., which is not applicable to the present trial at all. Having regard to the scope of the present dispute, we do not consider it necessary or appropriate to decide this question either. 

20. In the instant case, as disclosed during the course of arguments, there has been a change of the political party in power in May 2013 and thus, the order of the State Government is alleged to be politically motivated. In our opinion, though there is an undoubted power with the Government to withdraw or revoke the appointment within Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, but that exercise of power appears to be vitiated in the present case by malafides in law inasmuch as it is apparent on record that the switch-over of government in between has resulted in a sudden change of opinion that is abrupt for no discernable legally sustainable reason. The sharp transitional decision was an act of clear unwarranted indiscretion actuated by an intention that does not appear to be founded on good faith. 

21. The record of the case reveals that the learned Special Judge had started hearing of the present case on 20.11.2012. He had recorded the statements of the accused in December 2012 and January 2013 under Section 313 Cr.P.C. The learned Judge examined 99 defence witnesses and 384 defence exhibits were marked before him. The defence concluded its argument before the learned Special Judge and SPP commenced the final arguments on 23.8.2013. He was interrupted abruptly as on 26.8.2013, the SPP was asked not to continue with the work. The evidence led in the case is very bulky as it runs into 34000 pages. In case a new Judge starts hearing the matter, he is bound to take a long time to understand the factual and legal niceties involved in the case. Accordingly, we have no hesitation in holding that the Notification purporting to revoke the appointment of Shri G. Bhavani Singh as SPP is liable to be struck down. 

22. In State of Tamil Nadu & Ors. v. K. Shyam Sunder & Ors., AIR 2011 SC 3470, this Court has observed that the Government has to rise above the nexus of vested interests and nepotism and eschew window-dressing. The principles of governance have to be tested on the touchstone of justice, equity and fair play. A decision may look legitimate but as a matter of fact, if the reasons are not based on values but to achieve popular accolade, the decision cannot be allowed to operate. Therefore, unless it is found that the act done by the authority earlier in existence is either contrary to the statutory provisions or unreasonable, or is against public interest, the State should not change its stand merely because the other political party has  come into power. "Political agenda of an individual or a political party should not be subversive of rule of law."  (See also: M.I. Builders Pvt. Ltd. v. V. Radhey Shyam Sahu & Ors., AIR 1999 SC 2468; Onkar Lal Bajaj etc. etc. v. Union of India & Anr. etc.etc., AIR 2003 SC 2562; State of Karnataka & Anr. v. All India Manufacturers Organization & Ors., AIR 2006 SC 1846; and A.P. Dairy Development Corporation Federation v. B. Narasimha Reddy & Ors., AIR 2011 SC 3298). 

23. In Smt. S.R. Venkataraman v. Union of India & Anr., AIR 1979 SC 49, this Court explained the concept of legal malice observing that malice in its legal sense means malice such as may be assumed from the doing of a wrongful act intentionally but without just cause or excuse, or for want of reasonable or probable cause.

24. In Ravi Yashwant Bhoir v. District Collector, Raigad & Ors., AIR 2012 SC 1339, while dealing with the issue, this Court held: "37….. Legal malice" or "malice in law" means something done without lawful excuse. It is a deliberate act in disregard to the rights of others. It is an act which is taken with an oblique or indirect object. It is an act done wrongfully and wilfully without reasonable or probable cause, and not necessarily an act done from illfeeling and spite. Mala fide exercise of power does not imply any moral turpitude. It means exercise of statutory power for "purposes foreign to those for which it is in law intended." It means conscious violation of the law to the prejudice of another, a depraved inclination on the part of the authority to disregard the rights of others, where intent is manifested by its injurious acts. Passing an order for unauthorized purpose constitutes malice in law." (See also: Kalabharati Advertising v. Hemant Vimalnath Narichania & Ors., AIR 2010 SC 3745).

25. Thus, it is trite law that if discretionary power has been exercised for an unauthorised purpose, it is generally immaterial whether its repository was acting in good faith or in bad faith and the order becomes vulnerable and liable to be set aside. 

26. Fair trial is the main object of criminal procedure and such fairness should not be hampered or threatened in any manner. Fair trial entails the interests of the accused, the victim and of the society. Thus, fair trial must be accorded to every accused in the spirit of the right to life and personal liberty and the accused must get a free and fair, just and reasonable trial on the charge imputed in a criminal case. Any breach or violation of public rights and duties adversely affects the community as a whole and it becomes harmful to the society in general. In all circumstances, the courts have a duty to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice and such duty is to  indicate and uphold the 'majesty of the law' and the courts cannot turn a blind eye to vexatious or oppressive conduct that occurs in relation to criminal proceedings. 

Denial of a fair trial is as much injustice to the accused as is to the victim and the society. It necessarily requires a trial before an impartial judge, a fair prosecutor and an atmosphere of judicial calm. Since the object of the trial is to mete out justice and to convict the guilty and protect the innocent, the trial should be a search for the truth and not a bout over technicalities and must be conducted under such rules as will protect the innocent and punish the guilty. Justice should not only be done but should be seem to have been done. Therefore, free and fair trial is a sine qua non of Article 21 of the Constitution. Right to get a fair trial is not only a basic fundamental right but a human right also. Therefore, any hindrance in a fair trial could be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. 

"No trial can be allowed to prolong indefinitely due to the lethargy of the prosecuting agency or the State machinery and that is the raison d'etre in prescribing the time frame" for conclusion of the trial.

Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides for the right to a fair trial what is enshrined in Article 21 of our Constitution. Therefore, fair trial is the heart of criminal jurisprudence and, in a way, an important facet of a democratic polity and is governed by rule of law. Denial of fair trial is crucifixion of human rights. (Vide: Smt. Triveniben v. State of Gujarat, AIR 1989 SC 1335; A.R. Antulay & Ors, v. R.S. Nayak, AIR 1992 SC 1701; Raj Deo Sharma (II) v. State of Bihar, (1999) 7 SCC 604; Dwarka Prasad Agarwal (D) by L.Rs. & Anr. v. B.D. Agarwal & Ors., AIR 2003 SC 2686; K. Anbazhagan v. Supdt. of Police, AIR 2004 SC 524; Zahira Habibullah Sheikh (5) v. State of Gujarat, AIR 2006 SC 1367; Noor Aga v. State of Punjab & Anr., (2008) 16 SCC 417; Capt. Amarinder Singh v. Parkash Singh Badal & Ors., (2009) 6 SCC 260; Mohd. Hussain @ Julfikar Ali v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), AIR 2012 SC 750; (Sudevanand v. State through CBI, 2012) 3 SCC 387; Rattiram & Ors. v. State of M.P., (2012) 4 SCC 516; and Natasha Singh v. CBI, (2013) 5 SCC 741)

27. It was lastly contended by Mr. Naphade, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioners that this would be a fit case for exercise of powers under Article 142 of the Constitution for a direction to the competent authority to extend the tenure of the Special Judge, who is due to reach the age of retirement on 30th September, 2013.

28. The learned Attorney General, however, submitted that this Court could not exercise its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution in the present case since such an exercise would be contrary to laws under which each Judge must retire on reaching the age of superannuation. In order to fortify his submission, learned Attorney General placed reliance on the judgment of this court in A.B. Bhaskara Rao v. Inspector of Police, CBI Vishakapatnam, (2011) 10 SCC 259, wherein this court held that the powers under Article 142 of the Constitution cannot be exercised by this court in contravention of any statutory provisions, though such powers remain unfettered and create an independent jurisdiction to pass any order in pubic interest to do complete justice. However, such exercise of jurisdiction should not be contrary to any express provision of law. The powers under Article 142 of the Constitution stand on a wider footing than ordinary inherent powers of the court to prevent injustice. The constitutional provision has been couched in a very wide compass that it prevents "clogging or obstruction of the stream of justice." However, such powers are used in consonance with the statutory provisions. (See also: Teri Oat Estates (P) Ltd. v. UT, Chandigarh & Ors., (2004) 2 SCC 130; Manish Goel v. Rohini Goel, AIR 2010 SC 1099; and State of Uttar Pradesh v. Sanjay Kumar, (2012) 8 SCC 537)

29. We find force in the submissions advanced by the learned Attorney General that this Court generally should not pass any order in exercise of its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution to do complete justice if such order violates any statutory provisions. We do not intend to say that it would be illegal to extend the term of the special judge, but that it is a matter within the jurisdiction of the State in accordance with the relevant law. There is yet an uncontroverted legal principle that when the statute provides for a particular procedure, the authority has to follow the same and cannot be permitted to act in contravention of the same. In other words, where a statute requires to do a certain thing in a certain way, the thing must be done in that way and not contrary to it at all. Other methods or mode of performance are impliedly and necessarily forbidden. The aforesaid settled legal proposition is based on a legal maxim "Expressio unius est exclusio alterius", meaning thereby that if a statute provides for a thing to be done in a particular way, then it has to be done in that manner and in no other manner and following any other course is not permissible. 

In State of Uttar Pradesh v. Singhara Singh & Ors., AIR 1964 SC 358, this court held as under: "8. The rule adopted in Taylor v. Taylor (1876) 1 Ch D 426 is well recognised and is founded on sound principle. Its result is that if a statute has conferred a power to do an act and has laid down the method in which that power has to be exercised, it necessarily prohibits the doing of the act in any other manner than that which has been prescribed. The principle behind the rule is that if this were not so, the statutory provision might as well not have been enacted." (See also: Accountant General, State of Madhya Pradesh v. S.K.Dubey & Anr., (2012) 4 SCC 578)

30. We have examined the scheme of the statutory provisions in this regard. The Karnataka Civil Services (General Recruitment) Rules, 1977 authorise the State Government to appoint a retired government servant on contractual basis after meeting certain formalities, for a specific period as may be necessary. So far as judicial officers are concerned, their services are governed by the Karnataka Judicial Services (Recruitment) Rules, 1983 and Rule 3(2) thereof provides the application of the rules framed under any law or proviso under Article 309 of the Constitution to judicial officers, though subject to the provisions of Articles 233, 234 and 235 of the Constitution. The Rules of 1983 stand repealed by the Karnataka Judicial Service (Recruitment) Rules 2004 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Rules 2004') and Rule 11(2) thereof reads as under: "11(2). All rules regulating the conditions of service of the members of the State Civil Services made from time to time under any law or the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India shall, subject to Articles 233, 234 and 235 be applicable to the Civil Judges (Junior Division), Civil Judges (Senior Division) and the District Judges recruited and appointed under these rules." Thus, it is evident that the State Government is competent to appoint the learned Special Judge on contractual basis after his retirement for the period required to conclude the present trial, though with the consultation of the High Court as required under Article 235 of the Constitution. Further, in our humble opinion, such a course must be adopted in the manner prescribed under the Rules 2004 and in view thereof, the matter requires to be considered by the State Government with the consultation of the High Court. 

31. Therefore, in view of the aforestated facts, we refer the matter to the High Court of Karnataka to decide on the administrative side as to whether, in order to conclude the trial expeditiously as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution requires the extension of the services of the learned Special Judge. Considering the urgency of the matter, we request the High Court of Karnataka to take a decision in this regard as early as possible.

32. In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that the order of removal of Shri G. Bhavani Singh-respondent no.4 is a product of mala fides and the impugned order is not sustainable in the eyes of law as such the same is hereby quashed.

33. With the aforesaid observations/directions, the writ petitions stand disposed of. 

(DR. B.S. CHAUHAN, J)
(S.A. BOBDE, J)

New Delhi, September 30, 2013
Sources:




Friday, September 27, 2013

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan panel termed Tamil Nadu as 5th Developed State



Rajan panel ranks Odisha most backward State

NEW DELHI, September 26, 2013

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT



RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan leaves after having a discussion with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, in New Delhi. File photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan leaves after having a discussion with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, in New Delhi. File photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Bihar is the second most backward, and Gujarat is less developed

A panel headed by Raghuram Rajan has recommended a new index of backwardness to determine which States need special assistance.

The new methodology ranks Odisha as India's most backward State, Bihar, which has been seeking 'special' status, as the second most backward, and Gujarat as one of the "less developed" States. Goa is India's most developed State.

In May this year, the Union government constituted a committee headed by Mr. Rajan, now RBI Governor, to suggest ways to identify indicators of the relative backwardness of the States for equitable allocation of Central funds. Central allocations are governed by the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula that places the greatest weight on the State's population, followed by other factors like per capita income and literacy. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's demand for 'special category status' for Bihar has further pushed the government to review how the Centre allocates funds.

The report, which the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister have reviewed, was made public on Thursday. The committee has proposed an index of backwardness composed of 10 equally weighted indicators for monthly per capita consumption expenditure, education, health, household amenities, poverty rate, female literacy, percentage of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe population, urbanisation rate, financial inclusion and physical connectivity. The 10 States that score above 0.6 (out of 1) on the composite index have been classified as "least developed," the 11 States that scored from 0.4 to 0.6 are "less developed" and the seven States that scored less than 0.4 are "relatively developed."

The report recommends that each of 28 States get 0.3 per cent of overall Central funds allocated and of the remaining 91.6%, three-fourths be allocated based on need and one-fourth based on the State's improvements on its performance, to be reviewed every five years. Since States now classified as 'special category' will "find their needs met" through the new allocations, the term 'special category' will be retired.

If the recommendations are accepted, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh will get a larger share of Central funds than their current share of total Central assistance to State plans and Centrally sponsored schemes, while Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra will lose substantially.

One of the panel's five members, Patna-based Shaibal Gupta of the Asian Development Research Institute, has disagreed substantially with the panel's choice of indicators, in a long dissent note appended to the report.

Mr. Gupta's most significant disagreement is with the panel's decision to use monthly per capital expenditure derived from National Sample Survey Organisation reports as a measure of income, rather than per capita State domestic product, which he said substantially altered State rankings.

In its report, the panel, however, defended its choice of indicator: "Since we are interested in measuring the State population's well-being, a majority of the committee agreed that consumption from the household survey seems more appropriate than income from the national accounts. This is a judgment call, and we also present the index calculated using per capita net State domestic product. The correlation between indices is 0.997."

Courtesy_

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Gujarat fails to make top grade in development index by Raghuram Rajan-led panel

TNN | Sep 27, 2013, 02.42 AM IST

NEW DELHI: A new development index has identified Gujarat as a less developed state, while ranking Odisha and Bihar along with eight others as "least developed" and Goa and Kerala among the seven "relatively developed" states. 

A panel headed by Raghuram Rajan, now the RBI governor, which submitted its report to finance minister P Chidambaram, also recommended a fresh approach to devolution of funds to states and moved away from the special category classification to devise three categories - least developed, less developed and relatively developed. According to the index, there are 10 least developed states, 11 less developed and seven relatively developed states in the country. 

The slotting of Gujarat, which has attracted attention due to its development model, in the "less developed" category is likely to escalate the already bitter political debate on the 'Gujarat model of development'. The other states in this category are Manipur, West Bengal, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Tripura, Karnataka, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. 

The least developed states include, apart from Odisha and Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The relatively developed states according to the index are Haryana, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Goa. 

The panel has developed a multi-dimensional index of backwardness based on monthly per capita consumption expenditure, education, health, household amenities, poverty rate, female literacy, percent of SC-ST population, urbanisation rate, financial inclusion and connectivity. The panel said less developed states rank higher on the index and would get larger allocations based on the need criteria. 

"The committee has proposed a general method for allocating funds from the Centre to the states based on both a state's development needs as well as its development performance," Chidambaram told reporters. 

"The committee has recommended that each state may get a fixed basic allocation of 0.3% of overall funds, to which will be added its share stemming from need and performance to get its overall share," Chidambaram said. 

The panel was set up after persistent demand from Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who insisted a the special category status to help access more funds for its development. This sparked off a demand from several other states such Odisha for the special category state status. 

While the new index will ensure more funds for Bihar from the central kitty, it has stopped short of conferring the "special category" tag on the state, Shaibal Gupta, seen as Nitish's nominee on the panel to submit a 10-page dissent note. 

However on Thursday, Nitish concealed his disappointment, if any, to celebrate the recommendation as a triumph even as BJP taunted him for failing to have his way despite cozying up to Congress. 

"It is a very decent report. For example under this index Odisha is at the bottom of the list and then Bihar. Therefore it recognizes that Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh are among the most backward states of India. That is I think the demand," Chidambaram said. 

"The demand of these states is please recognize the fact that for a variety of reasons we are the most backward states. I think this index captures the degree of backwardness and acknowledges that Bihar is among the most backward states of India. Special category is the present categorisation. Now they are moving away from that," finance minister said while detailing the recommendations of the panel. 

"This is not an answer to all the demands of the states. This is meant only to be a way forward on how to devolve funds to the more backwards states and areas of India. 

He said the index better captures the stage of development in a state, how backward it is or how relatively less backward it is and is a good measure for planning and devolution of funds. 

"Because some states are small very limited resources it is necessary to have a threshold below which the devolution of funds does not fall. So the committee has recommended that each one of the states will get a basic allocation of 0.3%," Chidambaram said. 

The finance minister said that the report will be examined by various stakeholders before being implemented. 

"It will not be in the current year. It has to go through the examination process and will be implemented in an appropriate time in the next financial year. To which funds this should be applied a decision will be taken," Chidambaram said. 

The report said that the National Development Council had accorded the status of special category state to eleven out of 28 states. They were based on a number of characteristics such as hilly and difficult terrain, low population density and or sizeable share of tribal population, strategic location along the borders with neighbouring countries, economic and infrastructural backwardness and non-viable nature of state finances. 

State under this category have a low resource base and are not in a position to mobilise resources for their developmental needs even though the per capita income of some of these states is relatively high, the report said.

Courtesy_

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Expert panel to evolve composite development index for States

K.R.SRIVATS

NEW DELHI, MAY 15: The Centre has set up an expert committee for evolving a composite development index for States.

This committee will be headed by Raghuram Rajan, Chief Economic Advisor to the Finance Ministry. It will comprise of six members including the Chairman.

This panel will consider backwardness of the States in terms of measures like distance of the State from the national average under criteria such as per capita income and other human development indicators, an official release said.

The committee has been asked to submit its report within sixty days. The terms of reference will be issued separately, the release added.

The other members of this committee are Shaibal Gupta, Bharat Ramaswami, Najeeb Jung, Nirija G Jayal and Tuhin Pandey.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram had in Budget 2013-14 proposed evolution of new criteria for determining backwardness of a region for devolution of funds under the Backward Region Grants Fund.

The present criteria for determining backwardness are based on density of population, terrain and length of international borders.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been demanding special category status for Bihar to spur the State's development process.

Courtesy_

Also view the related Wiki Links about Raghuram Rajan

1. In English: http://en.wikipedia.org


SC directs EC to provide ‘None of the Above' (NOTA) button in EVMs

Voter has right to negative voting: SC

PTI

Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission to include negative voting in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) by allowing voters to select none among the options. File photo
Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission to include negative voting in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) by allowing voters to select none among the options. File photo

Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission to include negative voting in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) by allowing voters to select none among the options. File photo
Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission to include negative voting in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) by allowing voters to select none among the options. File photo

In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court on Friday held that citizens have right to cast negative vote rejecting all candidates contesting polls, a decision which would encourage people not satisfied with contestants to turn up for voting.

The apex court directed the Election Commission to provide 'none of the above options' at the end of the list of candidates in electronic voting machines (EVMs) and ballot papers to allow voters to reject those contesting polls.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said that negative voting would foster purity and vibrancy of elections and ensure wide participation as people who are not satisfied with the candidates in the fray would also turn up to express their opinion rejecting contestants.

It said that the concept of negative voting would bring a systemic change in the election process as the political parties will be forced to project clean candidates in polls.

The bench noted that the concept of negative voting is prevalent in 13 countries and even in India, parliamentarians are given an option to press the button for abstaining while voting takes place in the House.

The court said right to reject candidates in elections is part of fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression given by the Constitution to Indian citizens.

It said that democracy is all about choice and significance of right of citizens to cast negative voting is massive.

With the concept of negative voting, the voters who are dissatisfied with the candidates in the fray would turn up in large number to express their opinion which would put unscrupulous elements and impersonators out of the polls, it said.

The bench, while reading out the operative portion of the judgement, did not throw light on a situation in case the votes cast under no option head outnumber the votes got by the candidates.

It said that secrecy of votes cast under the no option category must be maintained by the Election Commission.

The court passed the order on a PIL filed by an NGO, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) which had submitted that voters be given the right to negative voting.

Agreeing with the NGO's plea, the bench passed the path-breaking verdict and introduced the concept of negative voting in the election process, saying that it would further empower the voters in exercising their franchise.

The latest verdict is part of series of judgements passed by the apex court on the election process.

Earlier, the apex court had restrained people in custody from contesting elections.

The apex court has also ruled that MPs and MLAs would stand disqualified after being convicted of serious crimes.

The government has brought an ordinance seeking to negate the court's judgement striking down a provision in the electoral law that protected convicted lawmakers from immediate disqualification.

A two-judge bench of the apex court had felt that the issue on negative voting needed to be adjudicated by a larger bench as there were certain doubts over the interpretation of the ruling passed by a Constitution Bench in the Kuldip Nayar Vs Union of India case relating to a voter's right.

Under the existing provisions of Rule 49(O) of the Representation of People Act, a voter who after coming to a polling booth does not want to cast his vote, has to inform the presiding officer of his intention not to vote, who in turn would make an entry in the relevant rule book after taking the signature of the said elector.

According to the PUCL, Rule 49(O) was violative of the constitutional provisions guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) (Freedom of Speech and Expression) and Article 21 (Right to Liberty) and violated the concept of secret ballot.

Courtesy_

Also read the related stories

SC verdict: parties react cautiously, CPI(M) opposes

NEW DELHI, September 27, 2013

PTI

Political parties on Friday reacted cautiously to a Supreme Court verdict holding that citizens have the right to reject candidates contesting polls with CPI(M) saying that the judgement has led to an "abnormal situation" that needs to be corrected.

Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken said the judgement needs to be studied to see if the apex court has taken all aspects like overwhelming number of negates votes into account as reacting on the spur of the moment could be a little premature.

Implementation of the verdict will be difficult and it may create many problems, another party leader Rashid Alvi felt.

BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "We are in favour of electoral reforms. 25-30 years back we used to have elections once in five years but now we have elections every four months in some state or the other.

"To say whether this decision is right or wrong now would be hasty. Anything can be said only after studying the judgement," he remarked.

However, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury came out strongly against the verdict, saying, "This is an abnormal situation that needs to be corrected.

"Elections after all are the direct contribution of our parliamentary democracy. Neither the judiciary nor the Election Commission participates in the elections. It is the political parties which participate. Without even talking to them deciding like this, it is not a good sign," he said.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somanth Chatterjee also opposed the verdict, maintaining, "The Supreme Court has given its judgement, I don't think it is correct."

Welcoming the judgement, BSP chief Mayawati said, "Babasaheb Ambedkar was also in favour of right to reject."

In a landmark verdict, the apex court on Friday held that citizens have right to cast negative vote rejecting all candidates contesting polls, a decision which would encourage people not satisfied with contestants to turn up for voting.

Courtesy_

Also read FULL Text of SC Judgment at the following links



தினமலர்: இலங்கை மாகாண தேர்தல் பற்றி கோபால்சாமி சிறப்பு பேட்டி



ராணுவ அத்துமீறல்களுக்கு இடையே ஆர்வத்துடன் ஓட்டு போட்ட தமிழர்கள் 

இலங்கை மாகாண தேர்தல் பற்றி கோபால்சாமி சிறப்பு பேட்டி

பதிவு செய்த நாள்: செப்டம்பர் 25, 2013, 23:48 IST

– நமது நிருபர் குழு –

மிகுந்த பரபரப்புக்கு இடையில், இலங்கையின் வடக்கு மாகாண தேர்தல் நடந்து முடிந்துள்ளது. கிட்டத்தட்ட, 25 ஆண்டுகளுக்குப் பிறகு, தேர்தல் நடந்து, தமிழ்தேச கூட்டணி (டி.என்.ஏ.,) பெரும் வெற்றி பெற்றுள்ளது. அந்த கூட்டணி சார்பில் போட்டியிட்ட, விக்னேஷ்வரன், மாகாணத்தின் புதிய முதல்வராக தேர்வு செய்யப்பட்டு உள்ளார்.சர்வதேச அழுத்தத்தோடு நடத்தப்பட்ட, இந்த தேர்தலை கண்காணிக்க இந்தியாவிலிருந்து, முன்னாள் தலைமைத் தேர்தல் ஆணையர் கோபாலசாமி தலைமை யில், மேற்கு வங்கம், இமாச்சல பிரதேச மாநிலங்களின் தேர்தல் ஆணையர்கள் உட்பட, 20 பேர் கொண்டகுழு, இலங்கைக்கு சென்றது. இக்குழுவில், இந்தியா, பாகிஸ்தான், வங்கதேசம், ஆப்கானிஸ்தான், மாலத்தீவு, நேபாள நாடுகளைச் சேர்ந்த பிரதிநிதிகளும் இடம் பெற்றிருந்தனர்.தெற்காசிய நாடுகளின் தேர்தல் மேலாண்மை அமைப்பு சார்பில், இக்குழு, இலங்கைக்கு சென்றது.வெற்றிகரமாக நடந்து முடிந்த தேர்தல் குறித்து, கோபாலசாமியுடன், 'தினமலர்' நடத்திய சிறப்பு நேர்காணல்:

தேர்தலை நடத்தியவர்கள் யார்?

இந்திய தேர்தல் ஆணையம் போல், சுய அதிகாரம் படைத்த அமைப்பாக, இலங்கை தேர்தல் ஆணையம் இல்லை. தேர்தலை நடத்தும் ஒரு அமைப்பாக மட்டுமே, இலங்கை தேர்தல் ஆணையம் உள்ளது. அதிகாரங்கள் எல்லாமே, இலங்கை அரசிடம் தான் குவிந்துள்ளது.அதனால், உடனுக்குடன் நடவடிக்கை எடுத்து, தேர்தல் அத்துமீறல்களை, இலங்கை தேர்தல் ஆணையத்தால் தடுக்க முடியாது.தேர்தல் ஆணையம் போன்ற தன்னிச்சையான அமைப்புகளுக்கு அதிகாரம் வழங்க, 17வது அரசியல் சட்ட திருத்தத்தை, இலங்கை அரசு கொண்டு வந்தது. ஆனால், 18வது திருத்தம் ஒன்றை கொண்டு வந்து, இந்த அதிகாரத்தை பறித்து விட்டனர்.இருந்தாலும், ஒரு சில சம்பவங்களைத் தவிர்த்து, மிக அமைதியாகவே, தேர்தல் நடந்து முடிந்தது.

தேர்தல் முறை என்ன?

மாகாணத் தேர்தலில், ஒரு வாக்காளர், அரசியல் கட்சிக்கு தனியாகவும், வேட்பாளர்களுக்கு தனியாகவும் ஓட்டளிக்க வேண்டும்.ஓட்டு சீட்டில், முதலில் அரசியல் கட்சியும், அதன் சின்னமும் குறிப்பிடப்பட்டிருக்கும். அதன் கீழே, வேட்பாளர்களும், அவர்களின் சின்னம் மற்றும் எண்ணும் இருக்கும்.முதலில், அரசியல் கட்சிக்கு ஓட்டளித்த பின், வேட்பாளருக்கு ஓட்டளிக்க வேண்டும். ஒரு வாக்காளர், மூன்று வேட்பாளர்களை தேர்வு செய்ய ஓட்டளிக்க வேண்டும். இதன் மூலம், நான்கு ஓட்டுகளை, ஒரு வாக்காளர் போட வேண்டும்.

வட மாகாண வாக்காளர்கள் எவ்வளவு?

இந்தியாவை ஒப்பிடுகையில், இலங்கையில் நடக்கும் மாகாணத் தேர்தல், நகராட்சி தேர்தலுக்கு ஒப்பானது. வட மாகாணத்தில், 4.50 லட்சம் வாக்காளர் தான் உள்ளனர். இவர்களில், ஆண், பெண் சரிபாதியாக இருப்பர். வட மாகாணத்தில், 823 ஓட்டு சாவடிகள் அமைக்கப்பட்டு இருந்தன.ஒரு சாவடிக்கு, ஏழு முதல், 10 பேர் வரை தேர்தல்
பணிக்கு நியமிக்கப்பட்டு இருந்தனர். இவர்களில், பெரும் பகுதியினர் தமிழர்களே.வட மாகாணத் தேர்தலில், 67 சதவீதம் பேர் ஓட்டளித்துள்ளனர். 25 துணையாக இருந்தது. இலங்கையின்ஆண்டுகளுக்குப் பின் நடக்கும் தேர்தலில், இந்தளவு ஓட்டளித்து உள்ளது, நல்ல அடையாளமாகவே உள்ளது.

பிரசாரம் எப்படி இருந்தது?

தேர்தல் பிரசாரத்தின் போது நாங்கள் அங்கு இல்லை. இருந்தாலும், தேர்தல் பிரசாரத்தை முடிக்க வேண்டிய காலக்கெடுவை தாண்டி, பிரசாரம் செய்து கொண்டிருந்தனர். ஓட்டுப் பதிவுக்கு முந்தைய நாள் கூட, அரசு திட்டங்களை செயல்படுத்துவது, புதிய திட்டங்களை அறிவிப்பது போன்றவற்றை, ஆளும் கட்சியினர் செய்தனர். ஆளும் கட்சியினரை தடுக்க, தேர்தல் ஆணையத்தால் முடியவில்லை.இதற்கு, தேர்தல் ஆணையம் வலுவில்லாமல் இருப்பதே காரணம். ஆளும் கட்சி, இலவசங்கள் உட்பட சகல விதமான யுத்திகளையும் பிரசாரத்தில் பயன்படுத்தியது.ஆனால், டி.என்.ஏ.,வுக்கு இந்தளவு செல்வாக்கில்லை. வெளியிலிருந்தும் பெரியளவில் உதவிகள் கிடைக்கவில்லை. இதையெல்லாம், தேர்தல் பணியிலிருந்த பலரும் எங்களிடம் கூறினர்.

எதிர்க்கட்சியினரை, பலவீனப்படுத்தும் நோக்கில், தாக்குதல்களும்,பொய் பிரசாரங்களும் தங்குதடையின்றி நடந்தன. இதற்கு, டி.என்.ஏ., வேட்பாளர் ஆனந்தி தாக்கப்பட்டது ஒரு சான்று. இதை விசாரிக்க சென்ற, தன்னார்வ குழுவை சேர்ந்தவரும் தாக்கப்பட்டார். இதற்கு, ராணுவம் இப்போக்கிற்கு, அமெரிக்கா மற்றும் இங்கிலாந்து நாடுகள், கடும் கண்டனத்தை தெரிவித்தன. இதற்கிடையே, இலங்கையில் வெளியாகும், 'உதயன்' என்ற தமிழ் நாளிதழைப் போல, போலியான ஒரு இதழை வெளியிட்டு, அதில், ஆனந்தி மற்றும் டி.என்.ஏ., வேட்பாளர்கள், ஆளும் கட்சிக்கு தாவிவிட்டனர் என, செய்தி வெளியானது.இதை, உள்ளூர் 'டிவி' சேனலும் ஒளிபரப்பியது. 'உதயன்' பத்திரிகை உரிமையாளர், `உதயன்' நாளிதழ் போல், போலியான ஒன்றை வெளியிட்டுள்ளனர் என, அறிக்கையும் வெளியிட்டார். இப்படி, மக்கள் மத்தியில் எதிர்க்கட்சி வேட்பாளர் குறித்த குழப்பங்களை ஏற்படுத்தினர்.

ஓட்டு பதிவு சுதந்திரமாக நடந்ததா?

வட மாகாணத்தில் ராணுவம் இருந்தாலும், ஓட்டு சாவடிகளில் அவர்கள் இல்லை. ஓட்டு சாவடியில், சுதந்திரமாக ஓட்டளிக்க முடிந்தது.போரினால் வெளியேற்றப்பட்ட, 14 ஆயிரம் பேர், முகாம்களில் பல ஆண்டுகளாக உள்ளனர். இவர்களின், ஓட்டுகள் சொந்த ஊரில் உள்ளன. ஓட்டளிக்க, 20 முதல், 25 கி.மீட்டர் துாரம் செல்ல வேண்டும். பஸ் செலவு 100 ரூபாய் ஆகும்.முகாமில் உள்ளவர்களுக்கு, வசதியில்லாத நிலையில், இவர்களால், ஓட்டளிக்க போக முடியுமா என்ற கேள்வியை, இலங்கை தேர்தல் ஆணையத்தில் எழுப்பினோம். இதைத் தொடர்ந்து, முகாமிலிருந்து ஓட்டு சாவடிகளுக்கு செல்ல, இலவச பஸ்களை இயக்க ஒப்புக்கொண்டு, அதே போல், தேர்தல் நாளன்று, பஸ்களை இயக்கினர்.இருந்தாலும், 14 ஆயிரம் வாக்காளர்களில், 26 சதவீதம் பேர் தான் ஓட்டளித்தனர்.

எங்கள் குழுவில் இருந்த 20 பேரில், 19 பேர், வட மாகாணத் தேர்தலை மட்டுமே கண்காணித் தோம். பாகிஸ்தானை சேர்ந்தவர் மட்டும் மத்திய மாகாண தேர்தலை பார்வையிட சென்றுவிட்டார். வட மாகாணத்தில் தான் தேர்தல் நிலவரம் பதற்றமாக இருந்தது.தமிழர்கள் முழுமையாக ஓட்டளிக்க முடியுமா என்ற சந்தேகம் நிலவியது. இதனால், வட மாகாணத்தை நாங்கள் முழுமையாக கண்காணித்தோம். சுதந்திரமாக அனைத்து பகுதிகளிலும் செல்ல அனுமதிக்கப்பட்டோம்.இலங்கை தேர்தல் விதிமுறைகளில், ஓட்டு சாவடியில் வேட்பாளரின் ஏஜன்ட்கள் இருப்பது போல், தன்னார்வ அமைப்பின்,பிரதிநிதிகளும் இருக்க அனுமதி உண்டு. இவர்களும், அனைத்து ஓட்டு சாவடிகளை கண்காணிக்கும் பணியை செய்தனர். இவர்கள் மூலம், பல இடங்களில், ராணுவத்தினர் அத்துமீறி, ஆளும்கட்சி வேட்பாளருக்கு ஓட்டளிக்க வேண்டும் என, தமிழர்களை மிரட்டியது கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டது. சில இடங்களில், வாகனங்களில் ஆட்களை ஏற்றி வந்ததும் தெரியவந்தது.மேலும், வாக்காளர்களுக்கு பணம் கொடுக்க, ஆளும் கட்சியைச் சேர்ந்தவர், 24 ஆயிரம் ரூபாய் எடுத்து செல்லப்பட்டதும் தடுக்கப்பட்டது.

தமிழர்களின் மன நிலை எப்படிஇருந்தது?

பல இடங்களில் தமிழர்களை சந்தித்து, தேர்தல் பற்றிய விவரங்களை கேட்டோம். பலர், தேர்தல் மூலம், நல்லது நடக்கும் என்ற நம்பிக்கையுடன் இருந்தனர். தேர்தல் தொடர்பில்லாத, சில கோரிக்கைகளை கூறினர். ஆனால், அதுகுறித்து நாங்கள் எதுவும் செய்ய முடியாது என, கூறினோம். பொதுவாக, இழந்த நிலத்தை மீட்டு, மீண்டும் குடியேற வேண்டும் என்ற எண்ணம், தமிழர்களிடம் ஓங்கி நிற்கிறது. தனி நாடு போன்ற பேச்சு, தமிழர்களிடம் தென்படவில்லை.

உங்கள் குழு பரிந்துரைகள் ஏதாவது அளிக்குமா?

போர் முடிந்த நிலையில், நடக்கும் ஒரு தேர்தலை, நியாயமாகத் தான் நடத்தினோம் என, வெளியுலகிற்கு காட்ட இலங்கை அரசு தரப்பு விரும்பியது. அதனால், வெளிநாட்டு பிரதிநிதிகளை, பார்வையாளர்களாக வைத்து தேர்தலை நடத்த முன்வந்தனர்.அந்த அடிப்படையிலேயே, எங்கள் குழு அங்கு சென்றது. இருந்தாலும், தேர்தல் நடைமுறைகளில் உள்ள குறைபாடுகள், அதை நிவர்த்தி செய்ய வேண்டிய வழிமுறைகள் குறித்த பரிந்துரைகளை, தெற்காசிய நாடுகளின் தேர்தல் மேலாண்மை அமைப்பிடம் அளிப்போம்.இவ்வாறு, அவர் கூறினார்.

Courtesy_

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